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Reproductive freedom was one of the key goals of the feminism of the 1960s and 1970s. The women who fought for those rights recall an astonishing decade of progress from about 1963 to 1973. It included the right to equal pay, the right to use birth control, Title IX in 1972, and then Roe v. Wade, guaranteeing a right to abortion. Now they are not only shocked at the rollback of that right, but worried that if a right so central to the overall fight for women’s equality can be revoked, what does this mean for the progress women have made in public life in the intervening 50 years?

  • Updated

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. Friday's ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing states to ban abortion is stirring alarm among LGBTQ advocates. They fear that the ruling could someday allow a rollback of legal protections for gay relationships, including the right for same-sex couples to marry. In the majority opinion issued Friday that overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Samuel Alito said the decision applied only to abortion. But critics discounted that statement. In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should review other precedents, including decisions legalizing same-sex marriage and striking down laws criminalizing gay sex. A protester at a Topeka, Kansas, abortion-rights rally said conservatives would not stop with abortion.